An Evergreen for Every Purpose

Evergreens are year-round stars in the plant world because they outperform throughout the seasons, especially in the doldrum days of winter. Evergreen shrubs can add gorgeous color, create definition through texture, be a focal point of beauty, and provide much-needed privacy. They have multiple levels of appeal for each season of the year.

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  • 1 of 13

    Good for Privacy: 'Jantar'

    For privacy or creating a windbreak in your garden, the common arborvitae was always the go-to recommendation; however, there is a new kid in town. 'Jantar,' which means "amber" in Polish, where it was bred, is a new brilliant yellow version. Not only does it provide dramatic color throughout all the seasons, in winter it transforms to an amber tone. It proves excellent for privacy hedges, as its growth rate is a relatively fast 6–12 inches per year.

    Name: Thuja occidentalis 'Jantar'
    Growing Conditions: Full Sun
    Size: 4-6' tall x 2-3' wide in 10 years
    Zones: 4–8

  • 2 of 13

    Good for Privacy: 'Blue Totem'

    'Blue Totem' makes a lovely vertical element in the garden and creates a privacy hedge that makes a statement. Its attractive blue color and branches make a wonderful habitat for our feathered friends during the cooler months.

    Name: Picea pungens f. glauca 'Blue Totem'
    Growing Conditions: Full Sun
    Size: 6-8' tall x 2-3' wide in 10 years
    Zones: 3–6
    Source: Independent Garden Centers
    Photo Courtesy: Klehm's Song Sparrow

  • 3 of 13

    Good for Privacy: ‘Swane’s Golden’

    Either planted slightly spaced like the ones on Florence hilltops or shining as a stand-alone, 'Swane's Golden' is a wonderful addition to any outdoor space in Zones 7–9.  Its soft, buttery color prevails through all seasons. Deer do not consider this variety on their diet plan. Plant this variety where there is good drainage in your garden.

    Name: Cupressus sempervirens 'Swane's Golden'
    Growing Conditions: Full Sun
    Size: 15–20' tall x 2–3' wide
    Zones: 7–9
    Source: Monrovia

  • 4 of 13

    Good as a Focal Point: 'Thoweil'

    Absolutely drop-dead gorgeous Hinoki False Cypress makes a fantastic focal point in the garden. 'Thoweil' has a uniquely sculpted look that gives an artistic look in the garden and makes a stunning foundation for a container. Let your inner Picasso go crazy with the possibilities!

    Name: Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Thoweil'
    Growing Conditions: Full Sun to Part Shade
    Size:  3-4' tall x 1-1/2–2' wide in 10 years                  
    Zones: 5–8
    Photo Courtesy: Connon Nurseries

  • 5 of 13

    Good as a Focal Point: 'Cole's Prostrate'

    A greatly underutilized Hemlock called 'Cole's Prostrate' looks absolutely incredible cascading down or around stone retaining walls. It's also known for its silver-white bark that contrasts perfectly with dark green foliage. As the plant ages, this bark becomes more prominent and noticeable.

    Name: Tsuga canadensis 'Cole's Prostrate'
    Growing Conditions: Partial Shade to Full Shade
    Size: 1' tall x 2–4' wide; 3–5" per year
    Zones: 3–7
    Source: Independent Garden Centers

  • 6 of 13

    Good as a Focal Point: Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar

    This variety is stunning in the garden as a focal point. Its bluish-gray needles gracefully weep. Often you will see trunks of the tree trained to weave back and forth to create a beautiful pattern. This plant makes an absolutely gorgeous statement in the garden.

    Name: Cedrus atlantica Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar  'Clauca Pendula' 
    Growing Conditions: Full Sun
    Size: 3–12 feet tall
    Zones: 6–9

  • 7 of 13

    Good for Texture: False Cypress 'Sunny Swirl'

    Many false cypress have beautiful texture, but 'Sunny Swirl' is a gorgeous golden color accented with mahogany red bark. The contorted branches and threadlike foliage create a texture that is far superior to other evergreens. Its slow, short growth of 3' in 10 years makes it ideal for use in containers or small landscapes.

    Name: Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Sunny Swirl'
    Growing Conditions: Full Sun
    Size: 36" tall x 24" wide in 10 years
    Zones: 5–7

  • 8 of 13

    Good for Texture: Japanese Umbrella Pine

    We would be remiss to leave out this amazing member of the evergreen family that is a descendant of the great redwoods. Its needles look like a gorgeous, unrivaling flower during the break of spring. Many others like to compare them to that of an umbrella opening, hence its name. You need plenty of space for this one and only member of the Sciadopitys genera, as it can reach 30 feet. However, it is a very slow grower.

    Name: Sciadopitys verticillata
    Growing Conditions: Full Sun or Partial Shade
    Size: 30' – slow growing
    Zones: 5–9

  • 9 of 13

    Good for Texture: Granny's Ringlets

    Granny's Ringlets may have an unusual name, but the texture and definition it can add to a space is endless. The foliage curls inward toward the branches, giving each branch the look of ringlets. It is often used for bonsai but looks amazing as a container plant or in the garden. It will make a statement in your garden and have many of your friends asking, "What is that plant?"

    Name: Cryptomeria japonica 'Spiralis' – Granny's Ringlets
    Growing Conditions:
    Size:
    8' after 10 years
    Zones: 5–9
    Source: Forest Farms  
    Photo Courtesy: Danielle Ernest

  • 10 of 13

    Good for Color: 'J.W. Daisy White'

    Intriguing 'J.W. Daisy White' progresses through the seasons with a kaleidoscope of colors. Spring brings golden-green new growth that lightens to a cream color as it opens. Then in summer, be surprised again as it turns bluish-green to avoid getting sunburned.

    Name: Picea glauca 'J.W. Daisy White'
    Growing Conditions:  Sun to Light Shade
    Size: 3' tall x 1-1/2' wide in 10 years
    Zone: 2–6
    Photo Courtesy: Klehm's Song Sparrow

  • 11 of 13

    Good for Color: 'Pusch'

    This may look like a typical spruce, but when it starts producing bright, brilliant red cones in spring, it clearly distinguishes itself.  As the cones age, they become brown and decorate this dwarf evergreen throughout the seasons. It's a wonderful addition to a small garden, as it stays compact for an evergreen.

    Name: Picea abies 'Pusch'
    Growing Conditions: Full Sun
    Size: 32-44" tall x 30-36" wide in 10 years
    Zones: 4–7
    Photo Courtesy: A Year in Seattle Gardens

  • 12 of 13

    Good for Color: Sea of Gold Juniper

    Sea of Gold Juniper makes for an outstanding color accent in the garden. The lacy foliage is extremely unique with hints of gold and green. The color gets deeper and better in the winter months and is adorned with blue juniper berries. This unique plant works perfectly as a low hedge.

    Name: Junipersus x pfitzeriana 'MonSan' - Sea of Gold Juniper
    Growing Conditions: Full Sun
    Size: 3' tall x 4' wide
    Zones: 3–9
    Photo Courtesy: Monrovia

  • Next Slideshow Our Favorite Small Trees

    Our Favorite Small Trees

    Small trees can pack a big punch into your landscape. Here are some of our editors' favorite varieties.
    Begin Slideshow »
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